The opening of relations between the United States and Cuba by the Obama administration is going full steam ahead with the unveiling of new details.
The departments of State, Commerce and Treasure announced the changes available within the framework of the White House decision last month of putting an end to more than 50 years of embargo to the island.
Basically, it increases the contact between Americans and Cubans, be it in the fields of tourism, finances or commerce. This is the purpose of the opening: trying to influence the Cuba developments with a U.S. presence, instead of further isolating it.
This is a drastic and necessary change in the U.S. foreign policy towards Cuba. From the beginning, the embargo had the goal of strangling Fidel Castro’s regime in order to overthrow it. That never happened. On the contrary, the Washington policy only served to provide a justification for an authoritarian enemy government.
All of this happened within the context of the Cold War. But today there is no Soviet Union, and Havana is not the training ground for Latin American guerrillas, as in the sixties and seventies.
This is why the complaints of some critics of Obama’s action, like Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, sound completely out of context. The Republican believes that the opening will give money to the Castro brothers to keep repressing and undermining the U.S. in Latin America. This is the same false argument part of the Cuban exile has repeated for half a century. Now, absent the Cold War, Cuba’s isolation only serves to satisfy very limited interests.
The changes are within the confines of the administrative discretion rules of the federal government, but inevitably Republicans will consider them a constitutional abuse and will do everything in their power to nullify them. The best example is what the House did with the executive action on immigration.
The recent liberation of political prisoners in Cuba is a good sign that this new relationship is building up. The recently announced rules establish a base for a rapprochement that will be beneficial for both the American and Cuban people.